Alert Sign Dear reader, online ads enable us to deliver the journalism you value. Please support us by taking a moment to turn off Adblock on

Alert Sign Dear reader, please upgrade to the latest version of IE to have a better reading experience



Your Name:

Recipient Email:

LAHORE: The Quaid-i-Azam Solar Park, Bahawalpur, the first ever DC installation in Pakistan, is currently producing up to 12pc more power than the energy production requirements set by the National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (Nepra).

The first phase of the plant was completed in March last when it started producing 100 megawatt.

“The plant is giving an average yield of 169 gigawatt hour against the annual target of 153GW hour to meet 153 million units production requirement,” says Najam Ahmed Shah, the chief executive officer of the Quaid-i-Azam Solar Power (pvt) Limited.

More plants to work by year-end

Speaking to Lahore-based reporters at the site for the QASP on Tuesday, Shah said extra profits coming from the first phase of 100MW plant would be shared with the distribution companies and people under Nepra rules.

Responding to a question about controversies over the project, he said 1,000MW solar park only required capital expenditure in the form of financial loans as its production didn’t require any fuel while its maintenance cost was negligible. “The solar energy can be the cheapest mode of power in Pakistan if commercial loans are available on easy terms.”

Shah told a questioner that the solar panels spread across 500 acre produced maximum energy when sun rays were maximum and produced less power in high temperatures. He said the comparison of solar radiation and temperature in Pakistan with Germany suggested that panels in Pakistan would produce 33pc more power than Germany.

Dr Rana Abdul Jabbar Khan, focal person for QASP, told reporters that in first phase 100MW power had already been connected with the power distribution system while 300MW power plants were at final stage and expected to produce solar power by the end of December.

He said the remaining 600MW power plants would be set up in third phase starting in January 2016.

Dr Khan said the QASP would be able to get claim for carbon credit as the Clean Development Mechanism Additionality (CDMA) had also conducted analysis through on-site survey for our claim. He said the carbon claim was only linked with solar power generation as 70pc thermal generation in Pakistan was emitting high levels of carbon dioxide in atmosphere.

About solar power tariff controversy, Dr Khan said the present tariff was 14.15 cents which was expected to drop to single digit next year keeping in view the increasing trend of solar installations and production globally.

Earlier, briefing the journalists on capacity factor and energy production comparison, the CEO said the average efficiency of 100MW plant over the years was 80pc with average 20pc plant losses. He said the DC plant would suffer 20pc losses because of conversion into AC.

The monthly revenue (including tax) reached its peak of over Rs320 million in September from Rs3.548 million in March this year; 67.8 million units were exported against feasibility target of 64.9 million units and 62.2 million units Nepra target during cumulative energy production comparison for invoiced months. He said the cost of 100 MW solar plant is $131.15 million.

Comparing few countries for installed solar power and potential for solar in various countries, Shah said irradiation for 100 MW installed plant in Pakistan was 1,920 KWh/m compared to India’s 1,900 against 4GW installed capacity, China 1,700 (28GW), and Germany 1,100 (38GW).

The solar energy fits very well into Pakistan’s energy situation (fuel imports, land curve) while the country is a good location for solar energy (e.g better than Germany, Spain or China).

The visit to the site showed that the 100 MW solar power plant was injecting power into national grid through a centralised monitoring system while Chinese company Zonergy was currently raising PV plant and substations at three 100 MW plants each. A 220 KV grid station is being installed for producing and transmitting 600 MW next year.

The QASP is being guarded by 700 security officials of the Special Protection Unit headed by an SP rank officer. The SPU is giving outer and internal cover to 675 Chinese workers and few other foreigners.

Published in Dawn, November 5th, 2015

On a mobile phone? Get the Dawn Mobile App: Apple Store | Google Play

Comments (94) Closed

Syed Nov 05, 2015 08:53am

No one is going to check. All fake data to justify budgets.

Hashim Nov 05, 2015 09:06am

This is a good omen for Pakistan in meeting the energy needs. Pakistan should be looking to utilize solar and wind energy rather than the costly option of producing electricity by fossil fuels.

@SYED: some people just cannot think positively.

Shiraz Nov 05, 2015 09:09am

Congrats It's always surprising when there were news about problems with Nandi pur and solar energy there were so many comments with criticism and accusation, but when there is a good news people becomes silent , it looks people have developed an appetite for negativity

Muhammad Arshad Nov 05, 2015 09:19am

Great News

induskhus Nov 05, 2015 09:21am

The cost per unit is 20 PKR.Are you going to subsidise?

Wajid Khan Nov 05, 2015 09:23am

Let's wait for some time. The result will be same as Nandi pur power plant. These are bunch of liars who do not know what they are talking about.

Sarwat Nov 05, 2015 09:25am

Another set of lies.

FAK Nov 05, 2015 09:25am

This should address energy needs to a larger extent provided administrators stay fair.

KPK Nov 05, 2015 09:27am

@Syed .This data is not coming from pti that you can say its fake.It comes from a democratic party not from cult followings

think_then_speak Nov 05, 2015 09:34am

good news

msadiq Nov 05, 2015 09:37am

Great news ! Nandi pur is producing 425 MW ! whingers will always whinge.

Farhan Nov 05, 2015 09:38am

Better give one solar panal to each household and let them manage their own electricity.

Sandhu Nov 05, 2015 09:39am

It's good to know it. Just keep transparent.

Farhan Nov 05, 2015 09:40am

@Muhammad Arshad All weather friend is also adding 20 year old coal based electricity plants with lots of smoke.

Utsav Nov 05, 2015 10:03am

wow...gr8 news...congrats to pakistan from India..wish we focus more on such projects rather than weapons and war mongering.It will help our nations and make us prosperous.

Pakistani Nov 05, 2015 10:10am

@Sarwat Are you sure? how many solar systems you have installed and monitored, did you make any investment in Pakistan. Infact, what you have done for your country? if No then sit back and enjoy your free snaks plus critisize

Pakistani Nov 05, 2015 10:11am

@Farhan yes like Australia, Thats the right point to discuss here. Lets privatize Power distribution system and meter reading technique on modren terms to minimise losses

Pakistani Nov 05, 2015 10:13am

@Farhan Not possible, i think you dont know the current requirements of setting coal projects by UN where Pakistani is a signatury, so please we shouldn't talk on the matters we have no knowledge

salim Nov 05, 2015 10:17am

France produces 90% electricity from nuclear plants.

Rain Nov 05, 2015 10:26am

Easiest way to achieve the target is to decrease it to near nothing. How come the power plan which was generating only 12% of the target is now generating "12pc more power than target"

FAISAL BAJWA Nov 05, 2015 10:34am

Green Pakistan is the way to go. It's just the first project of this scale but as we proceed, we'll not only learn to do them right but also how to lead and innovative in sustainable solutions best suited to our needs.

ZeeTech Nov 05, 2015 10:36am

Instead of Power (unit of power is MWatts), they are referring to energy produced. Energy=Power x time , therefore if you increase the time more Energy is delivered or Produced. Important thing is Maximum Power Generation Capacity in MWatts.

So, they are simply saying that SolarPark would work for a few more years then its expected life hence would deliver more energy.

Pakistani Nov 05, 2015 10:42am

@Hashim ...and some are too naive.

ahmed Nov 05, 2015 10:44am

Good to know that. But my loadshedding has increased by 12%, too. So what if they are producing more.

Karachi wala Nov 05, 2015 10:45am

By the comments, Karachi has more solar power and lesser temperature in summer than other part of Pakistan. Again, in winters, it has more solar power than any part of Pakistan.

PML(N) need to get out of Lahore and think Karachi as part of Pakistan and their strategy.

amir khan Nov 05, 2015 10:54am

@Karachi wala How about voting for them as a good start ?

syed wasim haider Nov 05, 2015 11:00am

@KPK This plant was to produce 100 megawatt but only 14 megawatt is being produced.Now it is a new figure. There is some confusion.Can someone clarify this?

Tariq Gee Nov 05, 2015 11:11am

A positive development! Congrats to the govt!

M. Ahmed Nov 05, 2015 11:13am

What is the cost per unit to the consumer ? producing power at high rates does not do any good to our economy other then filling pockets of corrupt officials.

sm Nov 05, 2015 11:13am

Wait, if it is producing 12 pc more power, won't that mean cost will be commensurately less. How much reduction in power procurement cost and ultimately consumer bills will this lead to?

rich Nov 05, 2015 11:48am

Nawaz shareif rocks

Jaan Bhittani Nov 05, 2015 12:00pm

Great news for Pakistanis, but bad news for some people who can't think positive and always busy to find out negatives.

Sohail Khan Nov 05, 2015 12:03pm

@Syed Its the duty of government institutions like NEPRA to monitor. And NEPRA is quite clear in their dealing with private investors. They publish the tarrif details on their website of every PPIB project. Check their official website for verifying data.

Realist Nov 05, 2015 12:06pm

@KPK All I can say in response is "LOL" at term democratic party.

Sanjay Nov 05, 2015 12:37pm

Great! Solar energy is the direction we should all go and have a healthy competition :)

Mozzaq Nov 05, 2015 12:43pm

@amir khan How about asking PML(N) to sit a candidate in our constituency next time so that we can vote them? They do not even need to sit people in our constituencies as they can get votes from Punjab. They are still not a national party.

Vivek Nov 05, 2015 12:46pm

Article suggests panels are from Germany, that make us believe one aspect of the project was selected right

Rajeev Nov 05, 2015 01:02pm

Very good news. 169 GW is amazing. Well done Pakistan.

common man Nov 05, 2015 01:06pm

Annual 169 gigawatt hour = 169000 Mega Watts in 8760 hours (365*24). This means 19.2 Mega Watts per hour. Who set a 19 MW target for the investment of this scale ? On the positive note, something is better than nothing.

Excuse me Nov 05, 2015 01:08pm

What about the maintenance cost most expensive stupid way of producing electricity

Taimoor Nov 05, 2015 01:09pm

We need an independent audit into the figures since NEPRA could easily have set the energy requirements too low, figures could have been manipulated etc. etc. NOW, if the claims are true, this is great news for our country. We need to evaluate how the panels will age (if they are going to produce similar results in the next 17 -- 30 years consistently)... How much degradation will occur. This is national interest. Don't play politics!!

Belgian Nov 05, 2015 01:20pm

The average is expected to be high during the summer months. Let's see what happens after winter.

Atam Vetta Nov 05, 2015 01:27pm

Tariff 14.15 cents ($0.1415).This equals about IR8.5. A foreign company has just won a contract to supply solar energy in India @ about IR 4.7.

George Nov 05, 2015 01:34pm

@rich The wrong way!

Swaran Singh Nov 05, 2015 01:37pm

Now that's a good visual to see. India & Pakistan should compete for for development. Who develops more!!!! Chak de Pakistan. We are all brothers.

abdullah Nov 05, 2015 01:46pm

@syed wasim haider.bro you need to understand the process as how solar energy works.from your comment its evident you have no knowledge on this issue

Awais Nov 05, 2015 01:50pm

If you rework this data, the actual capacity after 12% increase is around 19 mega watt. US$ 131.5 million for 19 mega watts!!!!!!!!

Way to go!!!!!!!

Truth Nov 05, 2015 02:20pm

Why the CEO of Solar Park does not answer simple questions noted below instead of trying to confuse non-technical common man: 1. What is the power generation efficiency of the 100 MW installed Solar Park Plant - 18 MW (best international efficiency) or 12 MW(efficiency repoted for the Solar Park Chinese technology) or somewhere in between? 2. The upfront tariff approved by NEPRA for the QA Solar Park is reported to be Rs. 19-20 per unit electricity? Is this correct and, if correct, it requires a subsidy by the Govt. Does this tariff also include cost of integration with national grid because, it is reported that this integration cost makes solar electricity high cost, and stand-alone solar electricity is relatively much cheaper. The QA Solar Park CEO is simply trying to confuse us using unnecessary technical jargon.

BB Nov 05, 2015 02:28pm

@Hashim Approved upfront tariff for QA Solar Park power is Rs. 19-20 per unit of electricity and best efficiency solar plants of 100 MW nameplate plants produce 18 MW electricity (daily average). The inferior Chinese solar technology is reported to have power generation efficiency of 12% i.e. 100 MW plant will produce 12 MW power (daily average). Can the CEO elaborate? Can we have a clarification by a neutral technical person?

Pakistani Nov 05, 2015 02:32pm

@msadiq Can the Govt clarify which fuel is being used to run Nandipur now? If it is diesel operated, it is extremely costly production reportedly costing in the region of Rs. 40 per unit of electricity.

Larka Nov 05, 2015 02:33pm

@Wajid Khan Nandi pur is now producing 425 Mega Watt.

Pakistani Nov 05, 2015 02:36pm

@Rain Can the CEO mention the target? May be in his mind target was to produce 10 MW power from the 100 MW Plant, which has been reportedly producing 12 MW power (daily average) based on use of inferior Chinese technology. Why do we have such CEO of the QA Solar Plant who seems trying to mis-lead people.

syed wasim haider Nov 05, 2015 02:44pm

@common man PML knows how to manipulate figures.

Citizen Nov 05, 2015 02:47pm

@Syed Well neither did you

syed wasim haider Nov 05, 2015 02:52pm

@abdullah I think the leaders of PML-N do not know about Solar Energy because they should have told the common men of this country that with the 100 Mega Watt we will get only 14-18 as per availability of sunshine.Now comes the cost and its marketing; the answer is very simple:misguiding.

MAC Nov 05, 2015 02:54pm

All jugglery of terminology which clearly reflects the intentions. Perhaps using one unit of measure would not adequately confuse the common reader. .!

Kashif Nov 05, 2015 03:17pm

Despite that it's good initiative but the data seems very ambiguous. That Rs14 per Unit might be the figure after subsidy as I remember there was another article on Dawn claiming the production cost is Rs.26 per Unit.

Khan Nov 05, 2015 03:30pm

@syed be positive, appreciate what is happening good

Merey Aziz Hamwatno Nov 05, 2015 03:40pm

For God sake at least praise the Good job despite ur political ideologies.

Dave Nov 05, 2015 03:40pm

Happy for Pakistan. Other alternatives are hydro, if properly planned it can also ensure good agriculture growth.

Akram Nov 05, 2015 03:45pm

@Wajid Khan

something tells me you would not believe it, even it was proven true.

ayush Kumar Nov 05, 2015 03:59pm

here in India yesterday a USA company won contract for producing 500 mw at cost of just 4.95 rs per unit while adani is making 10000 mw plant with 10 billion dollar investment

Naseem Nov 05, 2015 04:41pm

@KPK The same "Democratic" party who gave information on Nandi Pur power plant and LNG!!

Please be honest, you can not fool the public all the time, and things have changed, people are more aware because of media. Open your eyes and accept the failures.

azmat Nov 05, 2015 04:42pm

@Hashim And you think Solar and Wind are the most cost effective options - oh God, "utha lay re baba"

Naseem Nov 05, 2015 04:44pm

@Pakistani what is this about? how do you know if he has made any investment? You should also print what you have done for Pakistan.

Syed Nov 05, 2015 04:58pm

Thanks for a positive news

Wali Nov 05, 2015 05:41pm

Gigawatts and Gigawatt hours are two different things 169GWh=169000MWh(Mega watt Hour) 169000/3600=47 This Solar park is producing 47 Megawatts only

Swedish Nov 05, 2015 05:48pm

so we have one security personal per Chinese .. awesome utilization of resources

jaffar Nov 05, 2015 05:55pm

Dears mass level solar energy production is new in pakistan,,don't hurry and worry ,,I think the short coming are removed and now it is working great .

Horntail Nov 05, 2015 06:04pm

Its producing 165000MWh per annual number of sunshine hours not total anual hours that means 165000/3175(avg anual sunshine hrs)... base on info regarding dofferent solar plants in germany n china. This plant may turn on and shut down at 20 MW threshhold, produces peak power when it is most required i.e in the afternoon... the plant operates for about 8 - 9 hours which is the avg daily sunshine hours of bwp city. exports is approx 500 MWh( again this assumption is based on the operation of other plants) energy daily.. soas per this assumption daily average is 500/8.5(avg hrs) =51MW per hr and yearly avg is is also the same if u do the above calculation

Muhammad Aijaz Umer Nov 05, 2015 07:02pm

Solar power capacity is giving wrong impression in General public due to unawareness .The annual target of 153 GWh means it will produce 153 GWh electrical energy in 8760hours ( 1 year ). Now Power= Energy/time. Equivalent power in one year basis= 153,000 MWh/8760=17.46 MW. This means it is not a plant of 100 MW its equivalent power is 17.46 MW. It is due to the fact solar energy is not available 24 hours in a day or 8760 hours in a year. Comparing this plant with a conventional combined Cycle Power plant of yearly availability of 94 %, this solar plant is only 18.5 MW. The capital cost of conventional power plant of CCGT is around 15 Million USD . We have spent 131.15 MUSD. The advantage is saving of Fuel. In next mail I will show how much fuel been saved. But per unit cost is still very high compared to CCGT . The cost per unit from high efficient CCGT will be around 7 cent/KWh. Now you can decide your self, what we are doing.

Akhtar Nov 05, 2015 08:08pm

Good news. But Pakistan should be acquiring the technology to manufacutre solar panels and not just buy them.

Horntail Nov 05, 2015 08:12pm

@Muhammad Aijaz Umer solar plant runs as long as sun is there. And in bahawalpur annual presence of sun is 3175 hours so calculate the actual per hr power production on this you will get 51 or 53 MW...

Zahid Nov 05, 2015 08:14pm

People, look at the size of this install. You don't think this can produce power? This is old technology and any technician can operate it. Maybe a couple of engineers to supervise. Please support this effort.

S A Khokhar Nov 05, 2015 08:59pm

@KPK he is talking about installation 100Megawatt and then 600Megawatt installation in future, what he hiding that actually production of 100Megawatt is 18megawatts!

S A Khokhar Nov 05, 2015 09:03pm

@syed wasim haider they are confusing people with installed capacity of 100Megawatt actually making 20megawatts but they are trying to use different unit of power to hide this using 169 gigawatts instead. layman language should be used as how much it is injecting into national grid! ie Megawatt

Dr. Farooq Khan Nov 05, 2015 09:34pm

If PTI is not bashing it, it means this news is true.

Parivel Nov 05, 2015 09:49pm

I beg Pakistan people to competite with Indian on solar power production... It will be a win win for both... No weapons will help....weapons will only help USA,RUSSIA, CHINA, FRANCE etc...

Khan Nov 05, 2015 10:58pm

So it is actually 12% more than the bare minimum limit?

flipflop Nov 05, 2015 11:49pm

The question is can they provide electricity from these solar power plants without giving subsidies with price ceilings so that people can afford it and at the same time recover the capital cost? We have great potential tp generate electricity from renewable resources but can they really be successful given the corruption level in our country.

Noman Nov 06, 2015 12:05am

Solar power using solar cells is old and expensive. Pakistan should install concentrate solar power projects with solar towers. It requires normal mirror and no solar cell and is as cheap as coal or hydel power. Euro will install these projects in N Africa and ME to run whole of europe on it by 2050.

Muhammad Aijaz Umer Nov 06, 2015 08:46am

@Horntail Please note that I am comparing QUAID AZAM solar park power output with a conventioal power plant for general public awareness. I Know DNI data of this site.Base load conventional plant availability can be achieve 94 % but the availability of solar plant will be around (6/24 )×100% as sun energy is effetively available 6 to 8 hous in a day but conventional power plant remain available all the time except Forced outage and planned outage of power plant.Assumed availability of 94 % of CCGT plant is higher but achievable.Solar PV technology is benificial for our beloved country but price which we are getting now is very high compared to other countries of the region having almost same DNI.where we are lacking is competency either we don't have competent team or some other issues related to our international rating by S&P or other institute.we have work hard with honesty and dedication to uplift our country image.All these news shows that country don't have competent team.

zafar Nov 06, 2015 08:54am

@Rain 12% of 12% is 1.44% to be exact. So instead of producing at 12% or 12MW it is producing 13.44% or at the rate of 13.44 MWatts. If we multiply this by 10, out of 1000MW of Solar, we will get about 130 MWatts of generation capacity.

Engineer Nov 06, 2015 10:34am

As an electrical engineering, some of the figures quoted here are extremely misleading. Above all, those who consider this solar energy park to be a breakthrough, please realize that this plant can only provide 1000 megawatts of power whereas our shortfall is several thousand megawatts. The change will hardly be noticed.

Engineer Nov 06, 2015 10:36am

@Hashim It's not about being optimistic or being positive. We reserve the right to know whether this information is actually valid or just numbers and figures that someone made up while on their way to work. If this set up fails, guess who will pay for it? You and me. We'll have to cover the costs with our tax money. I don't know if you care about it, but I care where my hard earned money is going.

Engineer Nov 06, 2015 10:39am

@KPK Yours has to got to be the funniest comment here. Political parties should stay in the parliament and make decisions, none of the parliamentarian is actually qualified to talk about technical information from these power plants. Be it PTI or some other democratic political party, the job to state valid figures should be left to those who are qualified to do so.

Engineer Nov 06, 2015 10:41am

@ZeeTech Finally! Thank you for pointing that out.

Najam A Shah , CEO QA SOLAR POWER Nov 07, 2015 11:53am

@Rain who said it was generating 12% of the target production value.. it was incorrect statement and not as per record. You and anyone else interested in understanding how the solar plants in the world work, are invited to visit the plant or head office for briefing. here we have worked hard just like you with competent and honest team tried from the market on merit for two years and made this breakthrough. Its a matter of pride for us.

Najam A Shah , CEO QA SOLAR POWER Nov 07, 2015 11:55am

@induskhus its leveled 14 cents meaning first 10 years around 18 plus , and next 15 years around 8 cents. and its fixed and have no fuel component and thus no escalation due to fuel prices going up.

Najam A Shah , CEO QA SOLAR POWER Nov 07, 2015 12:07pm

@ZeeTech you are mistaken, no one said it will work few more years. The MW max production which has been attained by this plant is 84 MW. But thats not the criteria for judging the production efficiency. The production requirement given by the regulatory ( an independent body) for any or all power plants of solar in South region is 153 GW Hour per annum. The production pattern so far of the plant is simply showing better production . Extrapolation of the same shows more than 10-12% better results.

Najam A Shah , CEO QA SOLAR POWER Nov 07, 2015 12:13pm

@Truth The CUF _ capacity utilization factor for solar PV plant in South of Pakistan is supposed to be 17.5 % as per the NEPRA determination on German experts feasibility report. The QA Solar plant has currently shown 19% CUF instead which is a great achievement. 12 MW is a lie and 18 MW is misleading and wrong understanding.

Najam A Shah , CEO QA SOLAR POWER Nov 07, 2015 12:30pm

@Syed its all real data on which the payments from CPPA NTDC are being made to the company .. So no chance of being fake.

Najam A Shah , CEO QA SOLAR POWER Nov 07, 2015 12:33pm

@Engineer all this information is real and can be checked from independent sources besides website . Based on this CPPA of NTDC is paying the company against units produced. So there is no chance of this data being incorrect.

Tough Truth Nov 07, 2015 03:00pm

@Najam A Shah , CEO QA SOLAR POWER Thank you for the response. I have noticed your invitation for an educational visit/ briefing about solar plant. I wonder if it would not be better to make available the briefing presentation on your website, so any one interested can know how your plant works without bothering the staff and wasting your (and their) precious time. I hope to see a video on the website about the plant soon in good faith.